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RFID News Roundup

Mapúa Institute of Technology library adopts CSL UHF RFID technology; Metalcraft announces NFC tags; Red Cell Innovation unveils handheld PDA with RFID; NFL Draft picks Fish Technologies; University of Salento researchers develop RAMSES passive RFID sensor tag; NXP Semiconductors joins ZigBee Alliance Board of Directors.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jun 12, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Convergence Systems Ltd.; MetalCraft; Red Cell Innovation; the National Football League, Fish Technologies; the University of Salento, RAMSES; NXP Semiconductors, and the ZigBee Alliance.

Mapúa Institute of Technology Library Adopts CSL UHF RFID Technology
Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL), a global provider of passive radio frequency identification products and active real-time location system (RTLS) equipment, has announced that the Mapúa Institute of Technology, located in the Philippines, has implemented an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID solution provided by CSL and ClarIDy Solutions to automate processes at its library. Mapúa Institute implemented the company's IDSmart library solution early this year at its Intramuros campus in Manila, according to ClarIDy, which employs CSL UHF readers at self-service stations, self-return stations and security gates. Many libraries around the world use RFID solutions to streamline check-in and checkout processes and other library applications, but most leverage RFID based on high-frequency (HF) RFID passive tags and systems operating at 13.56 MHz. Fewer use UHF passive RFID tags based on the EPC Gen 2 standard that Mapúa Institute is deploying. "Increasingly," said Jerry Garrett, CSL's managing director, in a prepared statement, "libraries are switching to UHF RFID frequencies because the UHF tags cost less than HF tags, and the read ranges for UHF are much greater than those offered by HF technology." CSL is providing the readers and tags, while ClarIDy's IDSmart system leverages the RFID tags, which are encoded with the library's existing automation system data and are affixed inside the books. With these tags in place, CSL reports, the library books can be inventoried, and be checked in and out, using a portable inventory reader, self-service library checkout station, self-return station or book drop. There are also RFID security gates to ensure that books have been properly checked out before they leave the library. "The objectives are to improve the workflow processes in our libraries, to solve inventory problems, and to save time," said Emerald L. Lansangan, Mapúa's chief knowledge officer, in the prepared statement. "With this efficient UHF RFID system in place, faculty members and students can now expect faster and shorter queues when borrowing and returning library materials, and librarians are free to focus on assisting our students with their research queries." Due to the success of the UHF RFID system deployed at the university's Manila campus, the Mapúa Institute of Technology plans to install this library solution at its Makati City campus as well.

Metalcraft Announces NFC Tags

MetalCraft NFC tag
Metalcraft has announced the availability of new Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags that can be used with NFC-enabled cell phones and provide secure data exchange at distances of less than 20 centimeters (7.9 inches). The 13.56 MHz passive tags measure 2 inch by 1 inch (with optional sizes available) and support the ISO 14443 standard. The label copy may include block type, stylized type, logos or other designs. All copy, block type, stylized type, logos, designs and bar codes are subsurface–printed—a process that, according to Metalcraft, provides resistance to solvents, caustics, acids and moderate abrasion. Any information printed on the bar code in human-readable text can also be pro-encoded onto the RFID inlay, as long as the data is in decimal or hexadecimal (A-F, 0-9) format, and Metalcraft can custom-encode information to the Electronic Product Code (EPC) and user memory banks. Additionally, Metalcraft can encode data that differs from the bar-code and human-readable information. The inlay adheres to a durable, flexible polyester label with subsurface printing that protects bar-code, logo and other printed information, Metalcraft adds. The polyester label is 0.002 inch in thickness and is backed with a permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive. The tag is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to +300 degrees Fahrenheit (intermittent) and has a shelf life of 24 months when stored at 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) and 50 percent relative humidity.

Red Cell Innovation Unveils Handheld PDA With RFID

Red Cell's ST-308 Industrial Android PDA
Red Cell Innovation Inc., a Canadian company specializing in developing integrated hardware and software that leverages RFID, telemetry, sensing and other technologies, has announced a new industrial handheld mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) that can support both RFID and bar-coding. The ST-308 Industrial Android PDA consists of a base unit that can be combined with an RFID reader-writer. Options include a reader complying with the 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) ISO 14443 standard and versions that comply with the ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 standard, offering a 50-centimeter (19.7-inch), 200-centimeter (78.7-inch) or 300-centimeter (118-inch) read range. A 1D laser, 2D laser or CCD bar-code reader option can also be added. The base unit includes a 1.2 GHz processor, 1 gigabyte of random access memory (RAM), 8 gigabytes of built-in FLASH storage that is expandable with a Micro SD card slot, a 10-centimeter (4-inch) IPS LCD touchscreen with 480 by 800 (WVGA) pixel resolution (HDPI), a 33-key numeric keypad, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a flashlight, a USB 2.0 port and an RJ45 jack for 100Base-TX Ethernet. It includes support for 3G cellular telephony (most North American carriers are supported, the company notes), as well as GPS, Bluetooth V2.0 Class II and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. The ST-308 base unit also comes with headphones, a stylus, a carrying case and a wrist strap. According to Red Cell Innovation, the device has an IP 65 rating, meaning that testing has confirmed it to be dustproof and waterproof, and weighs 350 grams (12.3 ounces) for the base unit and 500 grams (17.6 ounces) fully loaded. The 8000mAh battery can be used for 10 hours, or sit on standby for up to 20 days, the company reports. The base model is priced at $600, while a unit with a bar-code scanner and RFID costs about $1,000, according to Red Cell Innovation.

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